GREAT START

With a transfer fee believed to be around of £9.7 million, the Serbian defender Branislav Ivanovic signed with the English club Chelsea on 15th of January 2008.

Although surprisingly enough he did not make any appearances in that season as the coach club Avram Grant stated that he lacked fitness to actually play.

Avram Grant’s contract reached its end in 2008 and despite the success he enjoyed with Chelsea, no extension was made and he was replaced by Luiz Felipe Scolari.

Even with the introduction of a new coach Branislav Ivanovic could barely find any playing time with Chelsea besides a few appearances made as a substitute in the Premier League and League Cup matches. At one point Unibet were offering a betting market on him leaving Chelsea in the next transfer window.

BRUYNE MOVING ON

The Chelsea midfielder, Kevin de Bruyne, might make a move away from Stamford Bridge during the mid-season transfer window. His agent, Patrick de Koster, has hinted that.

De Bruyne is currently practicing with U-21 team of Chelsea. He has been made to do that after his poor outing in the Capital One Cup game against Swindon Town.

The new Chelsea boss, Jose Mourinho, had shown some faith in de Bruyne at the start of the ongoing season and had given him starting opportunities in the first couple of Premier League games, but, the Belgian winger couldn’t stand up to the manager’s expectations and lost his place in the starting line up.

Branislav Ivanovic keen to remain at Chelsea

Cash rich Paris Saint Germain have made it no secret their desire to bring Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic to France ahead of the new season and are reportedly ready to make an £ 8million bid for the Serbian international but according to sources close to the player, the utility defender wants to stay at Stamford Bridge.

The 29 year old is adept at playing both at right back as well as the centre of the defense and new Paris Saint Germain manager Laurent Blanc wants to bring him in as a cover for Gregory van der Wiel but the Serbian is keen to commit his future with the London club and sign a contract extension. Ivanovic was one of the stand out performers for the Blues in their almost disastrous campaign under Rafael Benitez last term and is a threat from set pieces as well.

Football themed games

The football season is over for this year and for football fans the end of season can be frustrating once any initial joy or sadness wears off, and this is where a football themed slots game like Soccer Safari can provide the ultimate distraction.

Soccer Safari is a slots game with a distinctly summer feel to it, thanks to the World Cup theme (originally created as part of the last World Cup), centring on animals playing in their own tournament deep in the jungles of Africa. The likes of cheetahs, buffalo, warthogs, lions and rhinos are all wonderfully brought to life by the video graphics, and the action provided at the beginning, is really enjoyable to watch before you get to the game itself.

TOUGH MATCH

The skipper of the Serbia national football team, Branislav Ivanovic, has said that the upcoming match against Scotland is going to be tougher than the match against Croatia.

Serbia was beaten by Croatia in a world qualifying match played at Zagreb on Wednesday. Croatia had won that match by 2-0.

The Serbian media had used very strong words for the team after the defeat against Croatia. The fans are also not happy with their team’s outing against the arch rivals Croatia.

The match between Serbia and Scotland will be played on the home ground of Serbia. So, there will be more pressure on the Serbian team in that match.

Talking to the reporters ahead of the match, Ivanovic admitted that his team is under pressure. The Serbian skipper said, “This will be a big pressure game for us. We will be playing in front of our home crowd which is disappointed with us. The media is also unhappy. We have our backs against the wall.”

“This is a test of temperament for us. We need to put all the criticism out of our head and should just concentrate on the game.”

“We are arch rivals with Croatia and the supporters expect us to win every match against them. But, the fans should also keep in mind that the team is going through a rebuilding phase and we will lose a few matches. They must remain patient.”

When asked about the Scotland team, Ivanovic said, “Scotland is a very good team. They haven’t played that well in the world cup qualifiers so far. But, personally I think that they will be very hard to beat.”

The good news for Serbia before this match is that Marko Scepovic has completely recovered from the hip injury that he had discovered in the match against Croatia. Scepovic was on the ground for only 9 minutes in the match against Croatia.

Reading vs. Chelsea Preview

Wednesday evening’s game at the Madejski stadium sees second from bottom Reading host a Chelsea side looking to further cement their place in the top four of the Premier League.

Despite their lowly position, the Royals have lost just one of their last five in the league, and go in to this game on having beaten Sheffield United 4-0 in the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday.

Brian McDermott will be without the injured Jason Roberts, while fellow striker Noel Hunt faces a late fitness test having picked up a knock at the weekend. New signing Daniel Carrico is also unlikely to feature.

Top scorer Adam Le Fondre is 11.0 (10/1) to open the scoring, though with his last five league appearances coming a substitute late on, you may prefer to back him to score the last goal of the game at the same price.

Reading are generously priced at 7.5 (13/2) to get the three points, with Chelsea widely available at 1.5 (1/2). The draw is 4.5 (9/2) with a variety of firms.

The visitors go in to the game having been held to a 2-2 draw by League One Brentford in their FA Cup fourth round tie on Sunday.

Away from the cup, they beat Arsenal 2-1 at Stamford Bridge the previous weekend, and have won their last four games on the road.

Goalkepper Peter Cech and defender David Luiz are injury doubts for Rafael Benitez, while Eden Hazard serves the second of a three-match ban.

Demba Ba is 5.25 (17/4) with Bet Victor to strike first, with Fernando Torres, who netted the equaliser at Griffin Park at the weekend, a 6.0 (5/1) shot with Ladbrokes.

NOT CELEBRATING YET

The Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has said that the Chelsea players will not start celebrating because they know that one win in the league cup against a lower level team does not mean that all the problems of the season is over.

After being top of the table only a few months back, Chelsea are 13 points behind leaders Manchester United. This is a massive difference even with the game in hand for the European champions. Prior to the start of the season, the club had the opportunity to win seven major trophies, but they have already lost in three major cup finals.

This doom and gloom has subsequently led to the sacking of the manager Roberto di Matteo, who has been replaced with Rafa Benitez. The former Liverpool manager oversaw the 1-0 defeat by Corinthians in the final of the Club World Cup. However, just a few days after returning to England, Chelsea players managed to pick themselves up and beat one of their biggest rivals Leeds united 5-1 in the League Cup. However, the brilliant second-half performance should not lead players into believing that their problems are over. Chelsea will be looking to close the gap on Manchester United when they take on Aston Villa at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

"I think it was very important for us to show a reaction after the disappointment of what happened in Sunday's game (against Corinthians). But this is just one game. We have to be more focused and stay like that in every game and try to win the next couple of matches. It is only winning game-by-game that we can get back our mentality and be strong like we were before. For us it's important to get results when we're not playing well, to win ugly. This is very important for the confidence and for the players to believe," said Branislav Ivanovic.

IVANOVIC STARTS WELL

The Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has been one of the regular players for the European champions this season. He has been at the heart of the defence that has to start of the season so well, but has been faltering in recent weeks.

After the 4-2 win over Tottenham in the league, Chelsea are yet to register a single victory in the league, which has meant that they are now in the third position. They have slipped from the point of a four point advantage to the state of a three-point deficit in the league in the matter of a few weeks.

However, the Serbian defender has said that it is extremely vital that Chelsea do not allow the heads to drop and learn from the mistakes that they have committed in the last few weeks. Chelsea will be taking on West Brom in what would be another tough match for the European champions because West Brom have an excellent record at home this season. Chelsea have struggled for a number of occasions over the last few seasons in the months of November, and Ivanovic is keen to end that spell with a victory. He has highlighted the importance of maintaining a clean sheet against West Brom.

"I think in previous years we had almost exactly the same situation as we now have. We need to learn from these experiences, and from the last game against Liverpool we know we need to be more concentrated as a team to win matches. It's important we get the points from this game against West Brom, we tried hard in the other games but we don't have the points and we need to improve this," said the 28-year-old ahead of the West Brom match. He has already scored three Premier league goals this season.

CHELSEA STUFF READING

Chelsea has defeated Reading by 4-2 in a Premier League match played at the Stamford Bridge, London. Both the teams fought hard in the match and the match was evenly poised till the 80th minute.

But, in the last few minutes, the Chelsea players made the difference with some superb shots. The last goal for Chelsea was scored in the injury time by Branislav Ivanovic, according to Chelsea news. The stadium was jam packed with the Chelsea supporters and those who were out there in the stadium watched a thoroughly entertaining match. The supporters would have got their money’s worth.

Chelsea got a penalty in the 18th minute of the match and Frank Lampard pounced on that opportunity to score the first goal for Chelsea. But, Chelsea didn’t manage to maintain the lead for too long as Pavel Pogrebnyak scored the leveller in the 25th minute. That was a brilliant goal.

Garath McCleary gave a cross to Pogrebnyak who put the ball into the left hand corner of the net with a header from a distance of 14 yards. Just a few minutes later, Reading got ahead with the goal of Danny Guthrie who used the free kick to very good effect and beat the Chelsea goalkeeper with a sublime shot. The Chelsea team was not able to equalise the scores in the first half and was down by 1-2 at the half time break.

In the second half, the Chelsea players played with tremendous attitude. It was Gary cahill who scored the equaliser in the 69th minute with an angular shot from a distance of 35 yards. However, the Reading goalkeeper, Adam Federeci, should have saved that goal, but, he didn’t manage to do that and Chelsea came back into the match. There were no more goals till the 80th minute and the match seemed to be going towards a draw. But, Fernando Torres and Ivanovic scored towards the end of the match to secure Chelsea’s victory. Chelsea will play its next match against Newcastle United.

CHELSEA READY TO FIGHT

The Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic has said that the current Premier league champions Manchester City will have a strong fight on their hands if they are to retain the title. He has also said that it will certainly not be easy for the Manchester club to once again lift the title.

Manchester city manager to lift the first Premier league title for the first time in 44 years. It is expected that they will now be targeting to conquer Europe. Chelsea were very much similar to Manchester City almost a decade ago after they had just won the league title after a gap of 50 years.

Branislav Ivanovic recently won the Champions League title with Chelsea. He has also been the recipient of the Premier league title within the club two seasons ago. He has said that he wants to lift the Premier League title once again, while also looking to do well in the European competition. As a result, Manchester City will not be having an easy route to the title. Chelsea have spent a lot of money in revamping the squad. Five attacking players have arrived at the club in the summer transfer window for a total cost of £ 60 million.

"Manchester United are always the first favourite when you look at the league. They are always there. City won last year and they will have the motivation to do it again. But the other teams like us are trying to build something new. It's going to be very tough for City. It was the same with us. When you win the league all the other teams, whether they are big or small, they fight and have extra motivation against you," said Ivanovic, who was linked with a move to Real Madrid only a few weeks ago.

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